Sep 14, 2011

Question without notice – Gillard Government

Mr FITZGIBBON (Hunter—Chief Government Whip) (14:46): My question is to the Leader of the House. Will he outline and summarise the important legislative reforms that have already passed through the House during the course of the 43rd Parliament? What support has there been for the government’s legislative agenda? How will the government progress its future legislative program?

Opposition members interjecting—

The SPEAKER: Order! The Chief Government Whip was pretty specific that his question was to the Leader of the House. Nobody else was invited to speak. The Leader of the House has the call and he should be heard in silence.

Mr ALBANESE (Grayndler—Leader of the House and Minister for Infrastructure and Transport) (14:46): I thank the Chief Government Whip for his important question, which comes 12 months to the day since the Gillard government ministry was sworn in after our election victory last August. That is why we are sitting on this side of the House and why the opposition are still on that side of the House.

Indeed, the government has a very big agenda. Since we were sworn in, the House of Representatives has carried 191 bills through the House—that is, 191 in this column and a big zero in their column because not one piece of legislation has been defeated. The parliament is functioning and it is functioning well in spite of the wrecking tactics of those opposite. The parliament said yes to the structural separation of Telstra; those opposite said no. The parliament said yes to rebuilding Queensland after the devastation of the floods and Cyclone Yasi; those opposite said no. The parliament said yes to a fully-costed and fair paid parental leave scheme; those opposite said no. The parliament said yes to a budget that invested in jobs and the economy with record spending in mental health; those opposite said no. The parliament said yes to national health reform; those opposite said no. The parliament said yes to the National Broadband Network, with not just one but five bills carried through the House; those opposite said no, no, no, no and no.

The government is determined to meet our future challenges. That is why we are saying yes to the creation of a Parliamentary Budget Office. That is why we are saying yes to the clean energy bills that are before the parliament, but in this case not everyone is saying no. The member for Wentworth, who was due to speak this morning on the clean energy bills, took himself off the list. But he knew that he could contribute because prior to question time he had this to say in response to the question, is the carbon tax to the plan that you and Ian McFarlane negotiated?

I think all of these schemes have got a lot in common. This one obviously has quite a lengthy fixed-price period. That’s why it’s called a carbon tax.

All of these schemes—whether it is one Peter Shergold canvassed when we were in government or the Rudd CPRS, as amended in the negotiations with Ian and myself, or this one—have a lot in common.

Indeed they do. Both had a fixed-price period, both led to an emissions trading scheme and both were supported by the member for Wentworth—not just in his heart but in his head, as they are supported by everyone who takes climate change seriously. It is only this side of the parliament that has a future agenda on jobs, skills, infrastructure, education and health. Those opposite simply have a negative agenda of carping and opposing everything that is put forward.